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Vision of Ukraine – 2030. What the judiciary should look like

In the summer of 2022, the CPLR team, as part of the public coalition «Ukraine after Victory», formulated a vision «Vision of Ukraine – 2030». The document offers key conditions for the reconstruction and development of Ukraine after the Victory. Here we share how we see the judiciary after the Victory.

How do we imagine Ukraine in 2030?

Everyone has access to a fair, efficient, convenient, and timely justice system functioning based on world best practices. The court effectively protects property rights and other rights of citizens and investors.
The judiciary in Ukraine is based on the principles of

  • specialisation (three judicial jurisdictions: civil, administrative, criminal, within which, in addition to general, there are specialised courts),
  • instance character (local courts, courts of appeal, and cassational courts),
  • territoriality (courts are equally accessible throughout Ukraine).

The Prosecutor’s Office (Public Prosecutor’s Office) is an independent body in the justice system that oversees the pre-trial investigation and the state prosecution in court. The position of the Prosecutor General has been depoliticised.

Judges and prosecutors are integral, professional, and independent, including from political influence. The issues of their appointment, dismissal, disciplinary action are decided by the bodies of judicial and prosecutorial government with the participation of representatives of the professional community and international experts. Career issues for judges and prosecutors are decided on a meritocratic basis in open competitions.

Citizens are directly involved in the administration of justice as jurors, deciding the guilt of the defendant. Everyone is safe from excessive and unjust punishment.

Attorneyship as an independent free profession provides professional legal assistance and operates based on professional self-government.

The state provides training for legal professionals, and provides judges and prosecutors with adequate remuneration and comfortable working conditions.

Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are in place. There are elected justices of the peace in the territorial communities, who hear simple cases in all three jurisdictions. Arbitration and international arbitration operate in commercial activities. Forms of pre-trial conciliation are widely practised in all courts and jurisdictions. Automated conflict resolution systems with artificial intelligence are in place.

The judicial system is accountable to the society. The judicial authorities have a stable positive balance of trust in the society. Ukraine ranks high among developed world countries in international rankings (Rule of Law Index, Freedom in the World, Corruptions Perceptions Index). The number of appeals to the European Court of Human Rights with claims against Ukraine is equal to the European average.

What key changes need to be made to achieve this goal?
  • Amend the laws governing the activities of courts, prosecutors, lawyers, the procedure for arbitration and international arbitration.
  • Complete the qualification assessment of judges. Carry out a complete reset of key bodies of judicial regulation, ensuring that they are represented by the professional community and independent international experts.
  • Reform legal (law) education.
  • Reintroduce the criminal penalty for a knowingly unjust decision.
  • Introduce an effective independent jury trial and magistrates’ courts in territorial communities.
  • Widely implement digital technologies (including blockchain and artificial intelligence) in the judiciary.
  • With the help of specially designed rules, restore justice in the territories that used to be under temporary occupation.
  • Ensure enforcement of court decisions, including through private enforcement agents.
What red lines cannot be crossed in this area?
  • Expanding the powers of political bodies in the field of justice.
  • Commissioning judicial reform exclusively to the judiciary.
  • Interference in the institutional and individual independence of the judiciary.
  • The presence in the judiciary of any judge, official or institution that support the aggressor country or have clearly acted in its interests.